Ministerial committee to tackle fan violence

In recent months, police and fans have traded accusations over increasing violence at sporting events.

September 26, 2006 03:51
1 minute read.

Following recent clashes between supporters and police at a number of Israeli Premier League soccer matches, the Ministerial Committee for Combating Violence on Monday established an interministerial committee to address the growing phenomenon of violence at sports events. In recent months, police and fans have traded accusations over increasing violence at sporting events. One instance saw fans of Hapoel Tel Aviv clash with officers following its 2-1 loss to Betar Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium in the capital on September 10. The following week, similar scuffles broke out between police and supporters of Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa. "I hope that the results of this committee will be the return of faith in the rules of the game," said Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ophir Paz-Pines during the meeting. "The game should be a family event, an enjoyable experience." Paz-Pines said that many other countries had successfully dealt with more widespread and violent forms of sports hooliganism, and cited the English and French models. In England, he said, known hooligans were not permitted to attend live games at all, whereas in France, police officers were not allowed inside stadiums in order to reduce friction between police and fans. The new committee will consolidate practical recommendations for eliminating the phenomenon, and will present its conclusions within 45 days. Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said that he hoped the recommendations would "enable athletes and fans alike to enjoy sporting events". The committee will be headed by Internal Security Ministry Director-General Roni Falk, and will include representatives of all of the bodies involved, including the national soccer and basketball associations, the police, relevant government ministries as well as representatives of sports fans. Dichter specifically recommended that both women and representatives of the Arab sector be represented on the committee

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